UK Environmental Health Professionals Playing Vital Role in the Caribbean

Publication Date: 28th September 2017

Subject: CIEH

Environmental Health Professionals (EHPs) are playing a vital role in the British relief efforts in the Caribbean, being among the first troops to arrive following Hurricane Irma, arriving just hours after the hurricane has wreaked devastation through the area.

EHPs, forming part of the 1500 troops on the ground covering the British Overseas Territories of British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, and Anguilla, have been essential to the British response to the devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

With the desperate need for immediate relief in the wake of the hurricanes, EHPs have been attempting to put basic services like water, food, power, and sewage, back in place and to diminish the health threats to the islands’ inhabitants.

Arriving on the islands EHPs were met with devastation. Buildings without roofs, a shattered infrastructure, lack of water supplies, a destroyed sanitation system, a rat infestation, along with 90 per cent of electricity supplies knocked out by 180mph winds.

British Army EHP, Major Chris Taylor, who is coordinating operations from the UK, said:

“It is really encouraging to see that commandos were saying they wanted environmental health on the ground early on in this, because public health has such a high priority in terms of the outcome of what we are trying to do.

The EH team went out with the first commandos on the ground and then they were moved forward quickly to the islands by plane. We are always planning for this kind of things and just hope that we never have to use the plan.”

Responding to the news, Tony Lewis, Head of Policy at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, said:

“We are delighted to see the important role being played by environmental health practitioners in the Caribbean being highlighted.

They are a key element in providing much needed relief to British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean following hurricanes Irma and Maria.

These often unsung heroes are making a huge difference on the ground, with their work vital to the protection of public health and the successful rebuilding of the region.”


Notes to editors 

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About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH):   

The CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing more than 9,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved. 

Environmental health has an important and unique contribution to make to improving public health and reducing health inequalities. The CIEH campaigns to ensure that government policy addresses the needs of communities and business in achieving and maintaining improvements to health and health protection.  

For more information visit and follow the CIEH on Twitter @The_CIEH



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